Sigeumchi Namul (Korean Spinach Side Dish)

Sigeumchi namul is an easy Korean side dish (banchan) made with spinach. Simply blanch the spinach and season it. This recipe shows different ways to season the spinach.
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Sigeumchi namul (시금치나물) is a simple Korean side dish (banchan, 반찬) made with spinach. Namul is the general term that refers to a seasoned vegetable dish, and sigeumchi means spinach in Korean. 
 
There are an infinite number of vegetables that are made into nauml dishes in Korea. Spinach is one of the most common ones. It typically is served as part of the three color vegetable dishes (samsaek namul) served on traditional holidays. Sigeumchi namul is also highly common in bibimbap.

Although the cooking time and seasonings vary, making namul dishes with green leafy vegetables usually involves blanching the vegetables and squeezing out the water content, followed by seasoning with a few basic ingredients. If you have these simple techniques down, you can make namul dishes with many different vegetables!  Try it with baby kale, watercress, snow pea tips, etc. 
 
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As I usually do for my bibimbap recipe, you can simply season the spinach with salt along with some minced garlic, sesame oil and sesame seeds. 
 
You can also season the spinach with guk ganjang, 국간장 (Korean soup soy sauce) instead of salt. Guk ganjang is a byproduct of making doenjang, 된장 (Korean fermented soybean paste). While it’s better known as soy sauce for soups, it’s also commonly used in namul dishes, especially in country cooking. It adds a little umami boost to the vegetables!
 
Another ingredient that’s great for sigeumchi namul is gochujang (Korean red chili pepper paste). Gochujang gives so much flavor and a little spicy kick!
 
Try all these different options and let me know which one is your favorite. 
  
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More vegetable side dishes:

Watercress Namul
Putbaechu (Young Cabbage) Doenjang Muchim
Sesame Broccoli 
15 Korean Vegetable Side Dishes

If you tried this recipe, please rate the recipe and let me know how it turned out for you in the comment section below.  Stay in touch by following me on YouTubePinterestTwitterFacebook, and Instagram.

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Sigeumchi Namul (Korean Spinach Side Dish)

4.12 from 34 votes
Side Dish
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 2
Print Recipe

Ingredients

Mild

  • 1 bunch spinach about 10 ounces
  • 1 scallion chopped
  • 2 teaspoons guk ganjang, 국간장 (soup soy sauce) or use salt to taste
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • salt and pepper to taste

Spicy

  • 1 bunch spinach about 10 ounces
  • 1 scallion chopped
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons gochujang 고추장 (Korean red chili pepper paste)
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds

Instructions

  • Trim off the roots from the spinach. Wash thoroughly until there is no sand in the water. Blanch the spinach in salted boiling water until wilted, 20 to 30 seconds.
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  • Quickly remove the spinach from the pot and shock in icy cold water to stop the cooking.
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  • Drain and gently squeeze out excess water. Cut into 3-inch lengths.
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  • Add the remaining ingredients and mix everything well by hand, loosening/separating the spinach pieces that have been clumped up together. It will take about 10 minutes for the flavor of the seasonings to seep into the spinach.
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Notes

Have a bowl of ice water ready before blanching the spinach. 
Tried this recipe?Mention @koreanbapsang or tag #koreanbapsang!

This recipe was originally posted in February 2011. It’s been updated with new photos and more information. 

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Comments

  1. Robin Porter says

    Hi Hyosun,
    You ROCK!!!!, what such a wonderful recipe, very tasty and fresh greens, cannot go wrong with this recipe. Using fresh ingrients made this side dish very sucessful with my family and friends, everyone wanted the recipe.
    Thank you,
    Robin

  2. Just got recipe, but it is very appetizing. Ingredients very well described.

  3. How long can I keep this in the fridge?

  4. Thank you for sharing this recipe. I am curious to know if frozen spinach can be used in place of fresh spinach. I read that frozen spinach is cut & blanched before flash frozen.

  5. 5 stars
    I can never get recipes right, but yours are so easy to follow! I followed your recipe and even had the ice water prepared like your note suggested. Your website gives me courage. Thank you for the easy to follow directions and helpful tips. Also love the background. My spinach came out awesome! Even my husband loved it.

  6. Nitika Bhasin says

    5 stars
    Loved the recipe. Thank you.

  7. I just made a version of this (the non-spicy one) using snow pea tips (the leaves & soft stems — so delicious) and some perilla leaves from my garden. just for fun, I used some perilla oil instead of sesame oil (to me, it tastes pretty similar). it’s so delicious! soup soy sauce REALLY makes a difference in namul. thank you!

  8. for how long I can keep this in the refrigerator?

  9. Hyosun, any reason I couldn’t use Chinese water spinach instead? I like the taste and I can buy it cheaper than actual spinach

  10. Wonderful spinach dish. If you don’t like spicy, cut down on the chili paste.

  11. Please advise if the ingredients is intended for two servings.

    Thanks,

  12. Judith Skilang says

    This is the first time I’ve seen it written down as a recipe. I was taught by my Korean girlfriends, and that was by how it was to taste. Now I can share it with my other friends and relatives. Thank you.

  13. is there a way to print this recipe?

  14. I’d love to make this with your Dak Bulgogi recipe for dinner tonight…I only have prepackaged baby spinach though! Is that an okay substitute? Thank you!

    • Sorry if I am too late to respond for your dinner. Hope you tried it with baby spinach. It just needs to be cooked very briefly because it’s so tender.

  15. Barb Melrose says

    Is this dish supposed to be served hot or should it be refrigerated and served cold?

  16. nicole kim says

    This is the only Korean side dish my husband will eat! I made this along with your slow cooker kalbi chim and they were both soo good. Thank you so much for the wonderful recipes and looking forward to seeing more recipes!

    • Hi Nicole – You’re welcome! I’m very happy to hear you and your husband enjoyed it.Thanks for letting me know!

  17. rebecca @ beurrista says

    I am trying it tonight, with some kalbi bought at hmart.

    Looking forward to it!

  18. rebecca @ beurrista says

    I am making this tonight with some kalbi. Looking forward to it!

  19. Thank you, Lilluz! Glad your husband liked it. You know spinach is good for us. Happy cooking!

  20. My dear Korean husband always used to tell me that he doesn’t like spinach. I made this tonight, he tentatively tasted it and rated it 10 out of 10! This is a testament of how good your recipe is! Thank you very much for sharing!

  21. Mmm, I’ve enjoyed a similar spinach dish at a local Korean restaurant and have always wondered how to recreate it. I’m certain yours will be better. 🙂 One of my favorite vegetables is cooked spinach and I’ll look forward to giving your recipe a try. I think it will be a great side dish to the pre-marinated Korean beef (yes, b/c I’m too lazy to make my own so I buy store-bought) that my family likes. Thanks for sharing!

  22. 5 Star Foodie says

    A very flavorful preparation of spinach, this is an excellent side dish!

  23. A little bit of everything says

    this salad sounds delicious. love the flavors you put in it. thanks for sharing

  24. A SPICY PERSPECTIVE says

    I’ve never wanted to eat spinach so much in my life. this sounds fantastic!

  25. That looks yummy, thanks for sharing! I love gochujang so I can see it making anything taste good. 😉

  26. Add A Little Love says

    I am popping back to say thank you for visiting my blog. I also browsed your blog. Love it. I am a super fun of Korean food. Will come back often to visit your blog.

    Amy

  27. I made this last night. We enjoyed it a lot. Thanks for posting.

    Hugh in Dallas

  28. Rachel {Mother's Mementos} says

    Hello! I found your site through Chef Dennis and absolutely love it! I think it’s sweet that you’ve created this for your children. I’m also Korean and whenever I asked my mom for recipes and measurements for her dishes, she said there were none! She eyeballs everything and learned from watching. I regret not having paid better attention to her cooking while I was growing up. But I’m making up for it now.

    And your recipes will surely help! My parents and in-laws will both be impressed. 🙂

    -Rachel

  29. Alejandra Ramos says

    My husband would love this…

  30. denise @ quickies on the dinner table says

    I really, really love how some form of chilli or other features in so many Korean dishes! I would be happy to eat nothing but Korean food for a long , long time before I start craving anything else! This is simple, but no less lovely for it. Thanks for sharing 🙂